Vaccine Hesitancy

April 28, 2021

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Cambridge University
Cambridge University

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We are pleased to announce a one-day workshop on the topic of 'Vaccine Hesitancy' featuring talks from Katherine Furman (University of Liverpool), Maya J. Goldenberg (University of Guelph), and Cailin O'Connor (University of California, Irvine).

Boris Johnson thinks that anti-vaxxers are "nuts". This seems a popular opinion. On the other hand, the vaccine-hesitant seem to display various epistemic virtues: they question sources and refuse to take claims entirely on blind trust. Furthermore, important arguments in economics, anthropology and philosophy suggest a plethora of reasons we might, reasonably, be reluctant to vaccinate. Should we distinguish between anti-vaxxers and the "vaccine-hesitant", and, if so, why? How do these ethical and epistemic arguments relate to patterns in vaccine hesitancy - for example, across ethnic groups or in terms of political polarisation? What are the larger lessons of vaccine hesitancy for thinking about trust in science? In this workshop, three leading experts draw together work across social epistemology, philosophy of science, political philosophy and bioethics to address these practically pressing and theoretically deep problems


13:45 (BST): Start

14:00 (BST): Katherine Furman

15:00 (BST): Maya Goldenberg 

16:00 (BST): Break

16:15 (BST): Cailin O'Connor

17:15 (BST): Roundtable discussion

17:45 (BST): End 

Titles and abstracts of the talks will be released closer to the date of the workshop. Zoom links will be emailed to those who register for the event.

This event is part of a series of five workshops funded by the British Academy and hosted by the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge. Future events include workshops on:

Uncertainty, Decision and Policy (15th April)

The Population and the Individual (12th May)

What Counts? Who Counts? (1st June)

For further information on the planned events, get in touch with the organisers, Stephen John ( or Emma Curran (

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April 27, 2021, 7:30pm BST

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